Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys Greatest Hits, beyonce, Beyonce Greatest Hits, Black Eyed Peas, Black Eyed Peas Greatest Hits, Coldplay, Coldplay Greatest Hits, Justin Timberlake, Justin Timberlake Greatest Hits, Kanye West, Kanye West Greatest Hits, rihanna, Rihanna Greatest Hits, T.I., T.I. Greatest hits, The Black Keys, The Black Keys Greatest Hits, Usher, Usher Greatest Hits
With iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and all the other music-tech birthed in the digital age, the “Greatest Hits Album” has become a lot less important and a lot less frequent. This doesn’t mean that Greatest Hits albums aren’t sometimes surprisingly enjoyable. No Doubt‘s “The Singles 1992-2003” remains one of my favorite albums of all time, and last year I was really surprised that The Killers‘ “Direct Hits” compilation was so flawless as a full album. With the right sequencing and tone, a Hits album can potentially be a better album than that artists’ Best album. Most importantly though, a Greatest Hits provides a sort of cliff notes for anybody interested in an artist, but not interested enough to buy their whole discography.
To kick off a weekly feature I hope to continue, #TopTenThursday, I wanted to rank the Top 10 Artists whose material would make awesome Greatest Hits albums. And with the releases from P!nk, Eminem, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson it’s become clear that the Greatest Hits album doesn’t signal the end of a career anymore. None of the 10 artists listed are ones that I consider to be OVER, they just have great music that should be collected and celebrated.
Though Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have reached a mainstream success the past few years, their early work remains unheard of. The duo should go the OutKast route, whose 2003 “Big Boi and Dre present… OutKast” was put out for those new fans who thought “Stankonia” (their 4th album) was their debut. The Keys should do something similar and familiarize the world with their incredibly soulful early work.
Somewhere between arrest 4 and 6 (but who’s counting?), I lost interest in T.I. although there was a time when I was a big big fan. As it often happens with artists, his music started becoming a little repetitve to me, but he still managed to collect hits here and there. With 8 studio albums behind him, and one slated to be released this year, Mr. Harris clearly has enough material to put together a solid and diverse “Hits” album to celebrate his career in the Hip Hop game.
Let’s be real. The Black Eyed Peas are a huge group domestically and even bigger when you look at their international success, but they aren’t necessarily the most respected group out there. The foursome haven’t released a song in about 3 years, and their relevancy might have dipped since the major success of 2009’s “The E.N.D.”. A Greatest Hits would place all of their insanely catchy and addictive tracks on one album, and show the evolution of the group from “conscious” rappers to EDM hitmakers. This set could also include some of the group member’ solo work (since it doesn’t look like Fergie will ever release another solo LP). The hits might be the end of what BEP’s have turned into, and give them the freedom to recreate the band once again.
I almost didn’t include Kanye here, because he seems like the type of artist that would be repelled by the idea of putting out a compilation. But the dude has the hits to fill out a phenomenal Hits album. From his uptempo and fun records like “Golddigger” and “Good Life”, to the more emotional “Heartless” and “Jesus Walks”, and the socially conscious “All of the Lights” and “All Falls Down” – the set would show the masses that their IS talent behind the arrogant bravado that the media loves to focus on to make him a villain.
Alicia keys comes out every few years with a new album, she manages to score at least one hit single, she tours, and than most people forget about her. This is mostly because her last few albums have all sounded the same and she needs a drastic style change. While she figures out where she wants to take her talents, it makes sense to come with a Hits compilation. Keys does have amazing songs in her 13 year career. Hits like “If I Ain’t Got You”, “Fallin” and “No One” are so timeless that the compilation should play pretty nicely. And her fan base (that has trended to an older crowd) would definitely scoop it up.
These guys are actually the act that inspired this post as I was listening to “Ghost Stories”, their fairly decent if a little boring 6th album. I started thinking about their previous 5 albums (“Viva La Vida” IMO is easily their best album), their career and their breakthrough singles, and their discography would sound great mashed up together. Singles like “Yellow”, “Paradise”, “Fix You”, “In my Place” would flow nicely into the more uptempo tracks like “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Speed of Sound”. I definitely think this needs to happen as their next release.
With only 3 solo albums under his belt (4 depending on what you consider that 2 part “20/20 Experience” mess) it might seem a little premature for the former N Sync’er to release a Hits compilation, but if his 2013 MTV VMA performance is any indication – he has the hits, and people are definitely here for them still. It wouldn’t be hard to package his big hits like “Sexyback” “Rock Your Body” and “Suit and Tie” along side some new or unreleased tracks (“Boutique in Heaven”, “Pose”, “Worthy Of” being some great unreleased cuts I know of). And I’m sure it would sell, it’s Timberlake after all.
Last year I planned post something on Youtube about how I felt King Bey should release a Greatest Hits album. This was when the Beyhive was antsy and confused about the lack of new music, but than we got the surprise “BEYONCE” visual album, and all was well in the world. However a massive hits collection is inevitable, with her being such the Icon she is and having so many memorable hits like “Irreplaceable”, “Single Ladies”, “Halo”, “Crazy in Love” and now “Drunk in Love”. It’ll be one of those albums filled with so many memories and emotions, and definitely one that will make you dance.
It’s amazing that a Hits album has never dawned on Usher, who has had a very successful 21 year career which includes record breaking sales and hit after hit (or like he said in “What Happened to You” – “seven Grammy’s, sold out concerts, DAMN I been working hard!”). For a while he was clearly the King of the Urban R&B genre, but competition and a quick and controversial marriage and divorce kind of tainted his image. He’s still been able to make hits from time to time, but his chart dominance took a slight dip and he’s become so underrated. His Hits album would be a great way to get people to understand how underrated this amazing talent is, and that he once owned Radio and TV with hits like “U Got It Bad”, “YEAH”, “Nice and Slow” and “U Remind Me” just to name a few. A Hits album might actually be a better idea than releasing his upcoming 7th album.
In a very short time, Rihanna has collected so many big hits that it wouldn’t be difficult to create an amazing Greatest Hits album. And the best thing about Rihanna’s hits (including record breaking 13 #1 Hot 100 Hits) is that her music is so diverse. Her Hits album would jump from Dance hits like “We Found Love”, “Don’t Stop the Music” and “S&M”, to the Reggae/Dancehall tinged tracks “Rude Boy”, “Pon de Replay” and “What’s My Name”, on to her Hip Hop leaning hits and collabs like “Run this Town” by Jay-Z and “Live Your Life” by T.I. There’s even the softer Pop ballads like “Stay” and “Take a Bow” which would make the album perfectly balanced and fun. Rihanna is currently (allegedly) working on new material for her 8th release coming this Fall I’m assuming, (she posted a picture from the studio recently with the hashtag #R8) but a Hits album following that release would be perfect timing.